When was the last time you checked in with yourself? When I say check in, I mean sitting down for 10 minutes by yourself, taking note of how you’re feeling and what you’re doing.
It’s something that we don’t do regularly enough and is hugely underestimated how beneficial it can be to take some time to see how we’re actually doing on a day to day basis. My last blog post focused on Mental Health and publishing it was a statement to myself of realisation that I needed to make changes, be them only small changes but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with the fact that my mind needed some healing time.
Nothing in particular in my life was making me feel out of balance and that I’d lost sight of being myself, over time I’d put other aspects of my life before myself especially work and over a long period of time I started to feel really out of sync and out of tune with my mind and my body. I wasn’t enjoying working out as much I used too and that was my therapy! I hit a major plateau in my training and lost my motivation to continue. As I delved into more articles, research and documentaries about nutrition (another one of my passions) I started to find that I felt limited on what I could eat because of the impact it had on the environment or my health, when I started to make changes in my diet because of these reasons I found that the foods I was introducing to my body as an alternative didn’t always necessarily agree with me or I’d then discover that they also affected your health or the environment in other ways. I began to feel really restricted with what I could and couldn’t eat and started mentally punishing myself for wanting to enjoy foods that I shouldn’t – I had a great relationship with food before, I mean – this girl could eat! I’d even go as far as saying I was a real foodie!
My mood and energy levels started to become affected as a result of not training like I used too and not consuming enough calories. As a disclaimer: I wasn’t developing an eating disorder, nor am I trying to relate my experience with eating disorders – I was still eating a lot but I wasn’t nurturing my body with efficient and balanced nutrients which caused my mind and body to lack energy and my mood spiralled downwards as a result. When I started my new job I realised that something needed to change and I needed to start delving into my mind and figure on what was going on in there.
Mindfulness seems to be a really popular aspect of Wellness and Wellbeing at the moment so I’m sure a lot of you are aware of it or have maybe even given it a try in the form of mediation. I actually began meditating around 4-5 years ago, I was extremely in tune with my body and mind and due to some traumatic circumstances at the time it became my self healing medicine and I couldn’t live without it. It kept me going from day to day and I felt strong in my mind. I would make time to sit down every single day, whether it was for 10 minutes or an hour I would check in with myself and meditate. It began to wear off as I started my travels which, at the time I didn’t think was necessarily a bad thing because I found other ways to make time for myself – mainly through surfing and because I was travelling alone I had plenty of time to myself to reflect and appreciate where I was in life at that time.
Cutting a long story short, coming home after a year of freedom and exploration seemed to throw me completely out of balance with myself and as I said before, over time I forgot to make myself a priority and check in with myself, resulting in a sense of feeling lost and out of tune. I made a pact to myself to begin meditating and see how it went, I went back to my old resource, Headspace. It has been a few years since I’d logged into my account and I quickly discovered that Headspace had evolved and expanded – in a positive way! There are now heaps of different meditations and packs to build upon for all different states of mind or circumstances and I immediately began the 30 day Anxiety pack. I’m still getting through it now as we speak, day by day and I’ve noticed changes and a resilience with my mind and the way I think almost instantly. Granted, I have had some experience in meditation so maybe my mind adjusted back quicker than most people who have just started meditating but I still have days meditating that I find harder than others and thats normal. Taking 10-15 minutes a day for myself has now become a ritual and something that I really look forward to. I feel it can really impact my day especially when I check in with myself first thing in the morning.
It’s also given me time to reflect on why I’m not enjoying the things that I usually do, especially with my workouts. I’ve come to accept that I just don’t want to lift heavy weights on a regular basis anymore, yes I’m a Personal Trainer and a fitness professional but that doesn’t mean that my own training has to keep up with what’s popular at the moment and I was pressuring myself to do exactly that which resulted in me wanting to avoid it. Sure, I went through a year or two of being really strong and getting into some powerlifting and Crossfit style training but maybe I lost my motivation because I got bored. I got good at it and then I needed something else to stimulate me, I also believe that my body and mind were in tune together then too – Strong mind, strong body. Now my mind needs some extra care and attention and so does my body which is why I’ve been going to a couple of yoga classes a week instead and you know what, I feel great! I’ve listened to my body and my mind by regularly checking in, I’ve cut down on the amount of nutritional information I try to cram into my mind and listen to what my body needs to nourish itself and I’ve made small changes to my everyday life – even changed the podcasts that I’m listening to, from fitness focused talks to more wellbeing and spiritually based ones which has opened my eyes to a whole new world. A world that I’m only just discovering but I feel so much happier in.
I’m now starting to see a whole new side to me and accepting that my interests and what I want and need to feel happy are different to what they were a year ago – and that’s okay! I’ve found a lifestyle that is working for me by making small, realistic changes and it’s come from taking the time to listen to myself. Have you had similar experiences and found something that has turned your life and world around? Please let me know because talking to different people, I find it so interesting what has worked for each individual :)